AfterDawn: Tech news

US pressures Russia to close

Written by Ben Reid @ 05 Oct 2006 14:59 User comments (43)

US pressures Russia to close The United States is continuing to mount the pressure on Russia to take down the controversial website, warning the nation that a possible World Trade Organization (WTO) entry is in jeopardy if action isn't taken soon.
"I have a hard time imagining Russia becoming a member of the WTO and having a Web site like that up and running that is so clearly a violation of everyone's intellectual property rights," said Susan Schwab, a U.S. Trade Representative.

For those of you that aren't aware, is a Russian-based digital music download service which offers consumers DRM-free music at extremely low prices. An album download will typically cost around £0.75 (about $1.40) from AllofMP3, which prices its downloads by file size rather than a price-per-song / subscription service offered by other online download services.

However, the legality of the site has come into question many times, and it's been alleged that it does not pay any royalties to artists which, if true, would make AllofMP3 an illegal operation.

The US and Russia are currently trying to kickstart negotiations with view to an agreement on Moscow's 13-year-old bid to join the WTO. Initial talks collapsed back in July, and one of the reasons cited was that Russia wasn't being strict enough to stop piracy and counterfeiting of American goods.

"The dialogue is continuing. We're making progress slowly but steadily and we'll see if we can get there," Schwab said. "A WTO accession agreement with Russia is a high priority. There's no guarantee that we'll get it done."

Reuters via Yahoo! News

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43 user comments

15.10.2006 15:10

It would be so great if Russia said no and refused to stop a song site. That price is what it should be considering the consumer must pay for dsl, blank cd's, and the stereo to listen to the song.

25.10.2006 15:43

Dosn't the U.S goverment have more pressing issues to deal with. I gusse copy rights are more important than the the war in Iraq

35.10.2006 15:59

I used to love this site. Paid $10 and got a gigabyte worth of 320kbps MP3's.. NICE!

45.10.2006 16:05

To be fair Gosurf101, the US beauracracy is at least a few million strong so war efforts aren't exactly being diverted for this type of foreign policy. I don't really know how I feel about this, I mean if its illegal to go to this site then whats the point of paying $1.40 when you can get on one of the hundreds of "file sharing" sites, but I understand if the artists aren't getting anything, eventually, the music industry will crumble, kind of sad because people would rather scarf down there mcdonald's than save a couple bucks and buy a CD. I mean $1 a song isn't all that bad, butoh well, ppl are cheap, I myself have downloaded a song or two , gotta love those Big Macs and Monopoly :-P

55.10.2006 16:34

i agree with Gosurf101, the us should get there priorities in order.

65.10.2006 16:36

who cares, when there is other free methods of getting music.

75.10.2006 17:05

We live in an age of monopolies.

85.10.2006 18:34

Are you serious "$1 a song isn't all that bad..." YES IT IS! One US DOLLAR PER SINGLE SONG. That is a fucking rip-off. This website atleast makes it logical to charge for the size of the song. Besides, what can the US do to stop it? There are different laws in different countries, all they can do is not let Russia enter the WTO. I don't see why not, different countries should be able to charge whatever they can for a song, after all, it isn't free.

95.10.2006 19:07

I think the prices at allofmp3 are reasonable considering it is lossy mp3 audio and you do not get any artwork with the music. I myself can't stand the quality of mp3 sourced audio. they should consider starting allofflac and sell good quality audio files. I also think $15 for a cd is rediculus at times. if it were more around $5 I wouldn't mind paying that since you get the good quality of a cd and artwork.

105.10.2006 19:39

The title is incorrect ;)

Here is what it should read:

The RIAA pressures Russia to close

As long as its not violating Russian law, I believe it shouid stay up.

EDIT: The thing with "Artist Royalties" is bull crap. The RIAA takes like 60% of what the royalties and the artists get about 5%. Which out of a $15 CD equates to about a dollar.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 05 Oct 2006 @ 19:45

115.10.2006 22:21

No, Pop_Smith, this article doesn't actually have anything to do with RIAA, and Susan Schwab has nothing to do with the RIAA, as she is a US government official. ;-)

125.10.2006 22:23

@pop_smith Actually the artists would be lucky to get 20 cents per song as the cost of production,printing,marketing comes out of the artists share for every single cd or dvd,yep for every single cd or dvd sold they paid for it not the recording studio, i kid you not.

136.10.2006 3:26

Since Putin has always been a stubborn b@stard, i doubt he'll give in to such threats by silly little Susan Schwab, aka puppet/she b*tch of the RIAA. Besides, can any of you lot remember the last time the US tried to pressure Russia into coersion ? It wasn't pretty.

146.10.2006 4:18

America always gets its own way..

156.10.2006 5:46 fate depends on how badly Russia wants to get into the WTO, if russia wants to get in that badly their not goin to mind closing down one site

166.10.2006 6:31

In the immortal words of Spock..... "Go to hell" would be an appropriate response. It's about time the rest of the world told the US corporate states where to get off in it's attempt to export it's insane notions of 'intellectual property rights' to the rest of us. The WTO/IMF and the rest of those supposedly international cooperative organisations it uses to push this dictatorial garbage with are ours too, we should assert our freedom to formulate our own law. Basically it's undemocratic and they ought to be told to piss off pronto. Here's hoping the EU continues to back a very different interpretation of the rules.

176.10.2006 6:31

oops double post,sorry.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 06 Oct 2006 @ 6:32

186.10.2006 6:41

SOCOMII and if you keep not caring one day the world will be a place were black boots will raid your house and rape you then toss you in jail for "downloading" something without a contract....

196.10.2006 9:15

The RIAA takes like 60% of what the royalties and the artists get about 5%.
Pop_Smith, Clearly, you have no clue what the RIAA is… The record companies pay a tiny fraction of their profits to the RIAA as membership dues. And if you think the record companies are making anything like 60% profit, I suggest you buy some stock in the record company of your choice.

206.10.2006 9:19

DVDdoug I believe he means the Recoding industry(and the RIAA is part of them) takes 60ish % that 15-20$ you pay when you buy a CD

216.10.2006 11:37

media companies are scum, disney manipulated congress to extend its copywrites on micky mouse and crap for another 50 years or something! if this keeps up, no usefull or meaningfull copywrites are going to expire for hundreds of years. im sure the conversation went something like this: Disney: our copywrite is about to expire on mickey mouse, we need to somehow extend it so we can keep making money off it and fuck all the poor people in the world whos quality of life would slightly improve from having free disney products for there kids, or the fact that we aready are one of the top 5 most valuabl and powerful companies on earth. no, well never throw the people a bone well just keep milking them for all they are worth, to hell with being a good citizen of the world. Congress: well thats not fair that you get to extend your copywrite of mickey mouse and no one else gets to extend their copywrites. Disney: if you dont, well have all our tv networks totaly flame all you guys when your up for re-election. youll have 20% higher turnover and well make sure people get in who will do our bidding without regaurds to there duty to provide the best life possible to the public. Congress: Yes, master. and im sure all copywrite/piracy/p2p conversations go like this between media companies and congress, as well as all media anti-trust, media monopoly, and media reform conversations. land of the free, what a joke.

226.10.2006 11:39

georgeluv *nods nods* thsi si aland for the rich and its constantly loseing its meaning for the poor and middle class.

236.10.2006 20:37

first of all lets not get confused by thinking that even if (and that's a big if) Allofmp3 is in fact an illegal site, and if the royalties are either not being paid (allofmp3's wrong doing as well as ROMS) or not being forwarded by the Russian collecting agency ROMS (ROMS wrongdoing and not the sites) that the artists are really losing out anyways. First of all the artists get only PENNIES on every iTunes song sold. This is because the recording industry is viewing the sale of digital songs (which cost them NOTHING to produce, host, or sell) the same way they view Albums and CD's. As such they are currently paying the SAME royalties for digital sales to the artists and making out like (ahem) internet highway bandits! (Aand unrelated to this topic btw) all these RIAA lawsuits and their settlements are not compensating the artists either! So in reality the artists are loosing out AT MOST, on MAYBE a couple cents for every TEN songs sold on Allofmp3. And that's assuming that the site is in fact not paying them. Secondly, if in fact ROMS has the legal authority to collect royalties in Russia on music as well as assign permissions for it's use, does anyone here think that THEY would idly sit by while this site makes "tons" of money and cuts them out on a single penny? I think not! Therefore my humble opinion is that ROMS is in fact profiting from this site in one way or another. If they are receiving compensation from the site and they have authorized the site's sale of the music under it's distribution juristiction then any monies due from the site are in fact being paid. Now if ROMS is collecting money and not passing it on then perhaps ROMS is in the wrong but the site is still legit based upon the fact that they are paying the agency assigned to distribute the music in Russia. Yet perhaps ROMS also pays some license fees for the priviledge of said distribution authority and therefore the record companies ARE in fact being compensated. of course this is all conjecture since most of what the industry says is propaganda, lies and half truths and no reliable information has been submitted to the public regarding this ongoing battle. EXCEPT the fact that Russian judges have CONTINUALLY ruled that the site is LEGAL and ROMS has the authority to grant them a license to sell the listed music. So at least according to Russian law the site is currently legit.

246.10.2006 20:48

just one more thing..... Let us not forget that the main complaint by the industry was initially the fact that the songs were being sold for 1/10th the price on iTunes and was allowing people from outside the Russian market to purchase the songs at Russian prices! This is the same argument for Region Coding on DVD's. While it is perfectly OK and Natural and Beneficial for companies to become global entities that use the global economy, pricing and wages to THEIR advantage to save money (regardless of the damage caused to individuals and individual economies, prices and wages) NO CONSUMER should be able to do the same by purchasing a similiar (or exact) product from outside their local economy if it in fact saves them money! I keep saying this over and over.... These businesses demanded a global economy and world market (In fact they even cite it here in this article when they threaten WTO action). They outsource our jobs to 3rd world nations to save money (and increase profits) while depressing OUR wages and thereby increasing OUR costs. I feel no shame in taking MY money into the global marketplace, the global economy, that THEY GREATED and purchasing their goods at the best price available to me. If that means I OUTSOURCE my purchases and pay 10 cents per song to Russian instead of 99 cents to US Apple so be it! Heck they should be thanking me for helping to raise the economic standing of Russia so that they can start to afford to purchase more global products from other countries (which was the argument for the WTO and laws like NAFTA). WE SHOULD ALL start buying EVERYTHING from 3rd world and poorer countries. Maybe once the profit margin has been depleted for these businesses that took our jobs there the incentive to keep them there may disappear as well.....

257.10.2006 6:06

DuckNrun, summed that up rather nicely, and accurately. I believe Ill go and check out the site for myself since its a global market and all. And to think this is only possible due to Al Gore creating the Internet for us. Thanks Al.

267.10.2006 6:41

@georgeluv, I suggest you do your research on copyrights and how they are renewable. Most copyrights can be maintained for several lifetimes, so it's not some major corporate conspiracy. The thing about this whole subject is everyone has already convinced themselves that they are doing no wrong when they download songs, because its only going to hurt the EVIL Record Industry. Seriously, you all have to realize that if the U.S. doesnt do what its doing, music will die, might not be for you generation, but I doubt your children will have much if any. And Finally @sovmish "YES IT IS! One US DOLLAR PER SINGLE SONG. That is a fucking rip-off", are you kidding me? So you'll go buy video games for $50 to $60 that you'll stop playing after 3 months, a $300 console that will need to be replaced by the next new console in 5 years, an IPOD (or other mp3 device) whose battaery will wear out in 2 years or less, but .99c is just a "rip-off" It's funny, before CD's we didnt have any of this shit going on, you had cassettes and if you made "copies" of these you were considered cheap. Oh well, times change (Im 19 for reference)

277.10.2006 6:58

See I would happily pay $1 per song if they didn't put protection on them! I mean in all honesty whats the point of getting an mp3 player if you have to pay extra just so you can put big chunky protected files on it, I mean the only mp3 player that plays mp4s is the apple Ipod so itunes is rubbish and quite a few play wma with DRM but the point of an mp3 player is that you can put a lot of music on it in mp3 format, not 20 per GB in wma with DRM format...don't quote me on that I'm exagerating probably quite grossly. I just think its rude to charge people for music that limits how you can use it. My phone plays mp3s but the services that are legal download in protected format, so in order to put them on my phone I would have to do something illegal anyway.

287.10.2006 12:08

Ankoku he Mafiaa had to d something about cheap people and have been trying to make "tapeing" and buying used illicit..its rather funny t watch them chaotically run around trying to patch holes in their sinking ship and sad to watch them try and sue people for getting life preservers or on the life rafts...

297.10.2006 12:56

Never used AllofMP3 but I like the sound of it. I may have to check it out. If the record industry crumbles. GREAT! Then maybe the artists will get their cash and the greasy middleman will be out trying to make a real living.

307.10.2006 14:56

I suggest you do your research on copyrights and how they are renewable. Most copyrights can be maintained for several lifetimes, so it's not some major corporate conspiracy.
- No, it is exactly that sort of 'conspiracy'.

It has become so and expanded to these absurd lengths precisely because of the corporations concerned attempting to maintain a very firm grip of and continually recycle old talent/material they currently hold copyright to.

They always play it safe and refuse to invest in genuine and real creative talent, open your ears.

The thing about this whole subject is everyone has already convinced themselves that they are doing no wrong when they download songs, because its only going to hurt the EVIL Record Industry.
- Because this is, with some very rare exceptions, absolutely true.

When you break it down those crooked blood-suckers are the ones that take the bulk of the money, the artists get a comparative pittance (and they always have, as the decades of law-suits and attempts by even the biggest artists to get a fair share ought to be telling you, loud and clear).

Seriously, you all have to realize that if the U.S. doesnt do what its doing, music will die, might not be for you generation, but I doubt your children will have much if any.
- You must be kidding.
Music profits have never been higher, despite 'the industries' lurid claims about what downloading is supposed to be doing.

(and this is also despite the invariably talent-free and endless 'retreading' of 'old classics' that 'the industry' forever indulges in.)

Their (ridiculous) self-serving claims only stack up if you count every download as a lost sale, which any sane reckoning ought to conclude is not only absurdly wide of the mark but such a blinkered view of how people actually are as to be laughable.

I, like many other people, have often bought official albums from trying out a few tracks (whether I borrowed the physical CD from a friend/family-member or downloaded them).

....and there are those I never did, but would never have bought anyway.
No sale lost. At all.

Wise up matey, 'the industry' has been making these sorts of idiotic claims for over 3 decades, don't join with them, ffs.

Anyone recall this boll*cks?
Same cretinous sh*t, different day

.....and before that they were whining about people taping off of the radio chart shows.

In other words it's propaganda for the gullible and they've been at it a long long time.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 07 Oct 2006 @ 14:59

317.10.2006 15:02

*nods nods*

Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Lets renegotiate them.

Check out my crappy creations

327.10.2006 20:24

very god lets go back to the day when underground was underground and let the lameings pay and pay. let the RIAA and MPIAA think they won and everything is fine just like it was before napster "when nobody could get anything" then we can also go back to the time when smart people make money from "media consumers" bring it on :)

337.10.2006 20:36

hmm i dont think io worded that right..must be that new "perry" they have at the lcbo

347.10.2006 21:34

I agree with the **fact** that it is an abuse of the numbers to suggest that every downloaded song is a lost sale.

I also agree that people who create products, and those who invest in the creation and marketing of said product are entitled to receive a just, fair and equitable return on that investment.

This return is, under our capitalistic system, based upon price fluctuations driven by supply and demand that eventually is designed to reach an equilibrium where the price reaches a point where every consumer who WOULD purchase the product ends up actually purchasing it.

For instance, when something is brand new (say a 1TB HDD) the demand is extremely high and supply is low. This results in a high price tag. However there are people who will pay this price to obtain the product. Once these people have been satisfied through increasing supply, demand at that price drops. This results in an equitable price drop. As the price drops more people start buying and demand increases. This is repeated until the price reaches a point where anybody who would buy it either has already done so, or newer products take it's place.

Case in point anybody remember how much 250 GB hard drives USE to cost 3 years ago or more? Anybody currently think that $100 is now too high?

Ok now that the background info is done.....

PART of the problem is that music has NEVER truly been placed into the free market. Yes, while it is quite possible to find certain CD's for $5 or $6 at certain locations these truly are the ones that almost NOBODY wants anymore. And since these sit around in bins at your local Walmart and Convenience store, like, forever... even these prices are effectively proven to be TOO HIGH and therefore NOT following the very basis of our economic principles!

The fact that a song sold on iTunes is ALWAYS 99 cents is proof of this as well. However I disagree with the edict proposed by the industry that effectively sets certain tiers of price for songs on iTunes. This in effect still by passes the free market while allowing the record industry to market the higher price stuff as NEW, HIP, or COOl thereby being able to gain even more control over the artists by threatening to reduce the price of their songs on iTunes if they don't toe the line. This threat would work based upon the fact that MOST sheeple equate the price of something with it's value. Therefore a 69 cent song by Moonboggle (fictitious name) just couldn't be as wonderful as the $2.49 song from Snookie Doodles. Under this type of regime a band should do whatever it takes to maintain the marketing of their products and therefore maintain the higher priced mp3 scale so as to not loose the cool factor that drives so much in this, and other, industries!

But how do you truly obtain a true representation of supply and demand when supply is endless due to the very nature of downloaded digital music? What truly is an mp3 (and a DRM infected mp3 at that) REALLY worth? The problem is that noone knows the answer! This is because music HAS NEVER been fully released to have it's prices set by the market forces that set so many other products that we deal with.

What would happen to sales of a song on iTunes IF it was increased to $1.49? What would happen to those sales if it went to $1.99 or $2.49? On the other end of the spectrum what would happen if it copied and reduced the price to 10 cents???

So anybosy have any suggestions on how to allow the market to truly shape the price of digitial products that are in reality an endless supply with a fixed to reducing demand. Economics would say that an endless supply of a product with a fixed or decreasing demand results in prices bottoming out. This would of course NOT be acceptable to the industry since songs for 1 Penny would never be allowed. Perhaps they should open up limited runs of songs from artists?

Put new songs on the net for say 3 months at a higher price and then either pull the song off the market (which would result in illegal copying again by those who either could not afford the song or later on decide they want it) or once sales drop to a certain level reduce the price of the song by a set amount until sales once again decrease. Continue ad infinitum until equilibrium is reached and the price is set at the lowest price that everyone would pay for it? This would obviously not be 99 cents like on iTunes since many people still don't pay that and go elsewhere where it is cheaper..


357.10.2006 22:13

@ducknrun "Put new songs on the net for say 3 months at a higher price and then either pull the song off the market (which would result in illegal copying again by those who either could not afford the song or later on decide they want it) or once sales drop to a certain level reduce the price of the song by a set amount until sales once again decrease. Continue ad infinitum until equilibrium is reached and the price is set at the lowest price that everyone would pay for it? This would obviously not be 99 cents like on iTunes since many people still don't pay that and go elsewhere where it is cheaper.. " Amazing idea and economical analysis, I completely agree with this line of thought, Itunes should have the ability to track sales for periods of time and adjust costs, I just think its unbelievable that all these people are trying to defend the artist while stealing from them at the same time. I really have no love for artists, because if it wasn't for "the industry" they would have NOTHING, and the bulk of there money comes from the record industry and not royalties on songs (the most popular artists probably didnt even write there songs and have very little royalties anyway) who I feel sorry for are the thousands of people who went to school, got an education and are working in "the industry" and will eventually lose their jobs but oh well, my logic seems to invariably fall on death ears in this forum

367.10.2006 22:19

I think duckNrun raises some good points here. Classical models of supply and demand are based on physical goods and services. Digitally downloaded products, where there is negligable marginal production cost (doesn't cost them much of anything for it to be downloaded an additional time), may not fit in entirely well with this. But, yes, it's the NEW material that the consumers have a higher demand for. Would I prefer Throatwobbler's new 2006 song or their one from 2004? Well, turns out I might want ALL of Throatwobbler's songs, but masses of consumers will not. On the other hand, why do I see a "Throatwobbler's Greatest Hits" CD on sale at ? There must be some demand, even though some meterial may be decades old (or centuries, in the case of the Stones). Equating price with value? Well, I don't think that really applies with popular music does it? Would the sheeple (nice word, btw!) think that a $50 DVD movie is better than a $20 one? LOL, some of them do!!! Bring on the "Throatwobbler's Space Epic Special Boxed Collector's Edition Special Director's Cut 1.5" release! Granted, there is more material packaged with these (all 18 disks with complete interviews with the guys who were restroom attendants during the filming of the movie!). But does Price = Value apply to modern popular music songs where they're all about the same length? I don't see it. Have you seen $1 DVDs in stores? I have - things like Lone Ranger episodes, that horrible David Hasselhoff movie, and others. These are worth.... maybe about a dollar. What happens with music downloads is.... the demand decreases over time for a specific download. There you go. Start reducing prices for downloads when the number of downloads starts dropping, and we'll all be happier, and Adam Smith's ghost won't have to go on a rampage.

377.10.2006 23:40

My only hope(and it's a slim one)is that sites like this one in Russia will help to reduce the irrationally high prices set by the corporate clone online music industry. I care only that the artists are getting a fair cut from the sale of their music. Then the site should get a precentage to pay employees, run servers and pay for electricity etc. Then a small profit and that's it. Maybe with more models like this we could turn this whole thing around and get the prices down to where they should be.

388.10.2006 8:38

CORPORATE GREED OR INDIVIDUAL? I think there are a lot of confused views about intellectual property being posted here. As someone with nine patents myself, I can assure you that most inventors and musicians are small guys, like myself, who need IP rights to avoid being raped by big companies. Some things you may not know: In the U.S., copyrights have no expiration during an individual copyright holder's lifetime. It is also common for courts to extend copyrights beyond the grave to such foundations or estates as the creator may have been part of or whom he licensed to use the copyright. This is done so that death taxes and other post-departum debts may be handled by IP income (licenses or profit sharing) and so that taxable income to inheritors or other beneficiaries (which benefits government) can continue to be paid. This is likewise true for corporations like Disney. Their employees livelihoods depend on the IP remaining intact, so extending the rights is seen as preserving jobs. It also preserves government tax revenue from those jobs and from taxing the corporation's IP generated profits. It is perfectly fair to criticize big corporations for manipulating artists and individual IP creators when they do it. It is a social obligation to go after corporations for unfair business practices and for trying to un-level the playing field in their own favor on behalf of their shareholders with political and legal pressure. Beyond that, it must be understood that a corporation itself is just an entity on paper and has no use for money in excess of what is required for business transactions. Profit on any accounting ledger is, by definition, money leftover after all business expenses are covered, including pay and benefits for employees. Because this is extra money the corporation has no use for, the corporation is required to pay a big tax on it, then pay out what is leftover after the tax to its shareholders as dividends. These dividends are treated by government as personal income to the shareholders, and are therefore taxed yet again. The largest portion of stocks in U.S. companies are now held in pension fund and retirement accounts, and not by a few rich guys as was the case when Marx was writing Das Kapital. So, kick and scream at oil companies and entertainment companies about their outrageous profits all you want. Just keep in mind that those profits are monies the corporations don't keep. They line the pockets of government first and retirees second, and everyone else falls in line behind that. With the exception of a few highly publicized cases like Enron and Worldcom, where individuals tried to enrich themselves at shareholder expense, corporate evil is mostly about trying to get unfair advantage in competing against other corporations. This is to raise the value of the company's stock. If you think Mickey Mouse or other Disney products should be distributed free, then understand you are advocating depriving the people who now work with those products of their jobs, governments worldwide from the tax revenues they generate, and retirees from their pensions. If that doesn’t bother your conscience, that’s between you and your gods, if you have any? Just don’t try to assuage your guilt by telling yourself it hurts nobody but a faceless corporation when you steal. You are practicing personal greed. ON THE OTHER HAND Corporate advantage-taking can include trying to cheat the creative sources, such as artists and inventors (as I know from personal experience). This is why U.S. copyrights on all written and musical and graphic work are conveyed automatically (no applications or fees involved) to a writer or composer just by his claiming them and putting the copyright notice and symbol on his work. U.S. patent law only allows the original inventor of something to have his name on its patent application and will only issue a patent in the name of individual persons applying for it. A corporation or other business entity cannot be issued a patent, but can only get assignation of rights (license) to use a patent from its human inventor(s). This is true even of patents applied for by employees of a big corporation. Employment contracts for technical people generally obligates them to make assignation of IP rights to their employer of anything invented and patented while working for him. It is presumed the employer’s facilities and resources were used in the inventing. That is a choice you make if you want the job. The system is still set up to protect independent artists and inventors structurally. I have no idea what the recording industry makes? Much of that $15-$20 you pay for an album is going to be distribution costs, not profits, and that includes promotional costs and middleman costs as well as the physical manufacturing, packaging and shipping of the product. Entertainment companies are famous for cheating artists by hiding profits. ASCAP and BMI came about because radio stations would sell advertising for programs that played music without paying the artists. They were intended to do what a guild or union of independent artists might do in chasing down royalties. RIAA is the corporate equivalent, protecting the recording industry from that same kind of piracy, but I think they go too far in one respect I will describe below. I have now seen several artists interviewed and expressing the RIAA position that forcing them to split out individual songs from an album ruins its artistic integrity as a work. The complaint is no artistic context is preserved and the artist can’t recover anything for the time and effort put into the other pieces on the album that nobody wants. I think that last position is largely bogus. Ever since the Beatles came out with Sergeant Pepper, everyone seems to think an album is a contiguous whole, and not individual songs. The reality is that artists struggle to write extra songs to fill out an album precisely because songs are often individually inspired and not part of some grand vision that takes forty-five minutes to an hour to express. That borders on pretentiousness. The day of The Great Rock Opera is over. The real issue is the RIAA business model. In the 50’s and 60’s and even into the 70’s, we could still buy 45 RPM “singles” (really two songs) for less than albums and this marketing model didn’t hurt the industry. The hit tunes off an album usually cost about a quarter of what the whole album did, so these two songs were more expensive per song, but less expensive than a whole album. You could buy several singles for the price of an album and get the variety you wanted. In the 40’s lots of people only could scrounge enough money for a single together. The artist could make enough from a hit single to compensate him for his time working on the songs that didn’t sell. Nobody pretended the whole album was a string of masterpieces. It worked out fine. Now the RIAA model is that nobody wants to pay $5 for two hit songs, and so their solution is to force-feed the unwanted parts of album recordings onto the buying public. I think that’s just stupid. They may need to charge more than 99¢ to keep the artists employed writing filler songs for albums, but some price could be arrived at that would better serve everyone involved and not starve the artists or the retirees out.

398.10.2006 8:50

Condo lets not forget CEOs and other higher ups that get millions/billions and via that can damage a company or corporation..its time limits were set so that these bastards don't get golden parachutes when they 40% of the time they are to blame for it going under....

408.10.2006 9:19

one quick comment before I head off to work, and btw good comments to everyone! If price doesn't neccessarilly equate out to value then why do so many kids NEED to have the designer jeans that cost $80+ and LOAThe to be seen at school in the Walmart brand ones for $12.99?? It's a status symbol. The same concept COULD be presented for tiered music pricing. The in demand music would automatically be viewed as the higher priced d/l. This would result in more demand for airplay and promotion since it is 'in demand' whereas the other less pricy ones are viewed as not in demand or worth less due to their reduced price. Based upon the presumption, and possible reality, that radio, promotions and the mass public would have more interest in the music 'presented' as worth more an artist would maybe give up some of their rights to the industry not to have their new release shelved to the 69 cent tier but instead prefer the promotion and status of being at the $1.49 tier. Of course this could also be due to the increased profits the artist would (may) receive at the higher price as well. Either way when the industry fixes the price and does not allow the market to adjust the price to a 'real' level the true price of an artists music is never reached and the consumers are always paying more, subsidizing the lifestyles of the rich and famous.... CEO's (lol)

418.10.2006 20:08

There's A Program Out That Will unprotect Music Bought From Apple Its Called Soundtaxi And Its Priced At About 17.95 Cdn. I've Tried It And It Works Pretty Good Maybe A Little Slow Though

429.10.2006 16:26

I do not know whether you are aware of this or not, but I am. What Microsoft is doing is extremely illegal. Because of their large size, money to buy lawyers, and constant pushing around their weight, they have conditioned poorer people to believe it's ok to be stomped, if you have the money. Microsoft is attemting to control what everyone does, and that goes against my rights as a free person. I do not care for someone checking on me everytime I get on the web. I do not care for a corporation such as MS spying on me at all times. The equivalent behavior is me saying oh, you & your wife are doing nothing wrong, so it should be ok for me to watch if your doing nothing wrong. OTHERWISE< YOUR A CRIMINAL!!! Let this be a lesson. I do not care if something is "illegal" I will continue to do whatever I was doing before, as long as I feel I was right. MS can burn in hell cause I sure ain't gonna stop being me for them or anyone else. Don't get me wrong, I don't mess with others, but if MS messes with me, I will take all their $$$ and they will be broke in no time. It is illegal to tell a consumer what they can do and when they can with what THEY BOUGHT AND OWN. It is also illegal to try to spy on them 24/7 through web activation spywares. Windows crashes..., often. I don't need then to know every time I activate. Now, you, or whoever is reading this, be it you, or Microsuck themselves, READ MY LIPS!!! I DO NOT CARE WHAT LAW YOU PASS!!! If it treads on my rights as a human, will I break them? You bet I will cause I am not gonna sit tight and let some lame nerd with $$$ bully me around. I will stand my ground and I will win.

4310.10.2006 1:53

For me this is really simple. I will not pay £1.00 a track. I use allofmp3 because the price is right. If it is shut down I simple will not buy any music on line. End of story. So the RIAA are onto a no win - what they should be doing is legitimising allofmp3 and other sites that charge a reasonable price. But that is a bit sensible, so I can't see it happening frankly.

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